FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has introduced an updated Fiscal Transparency and Accountability Act.

“As promised in the throne speech, we have asked the house to restore an updated and improved Fiscal Transparency and Accountability Act,” said Finance Minister Ernie Steeves. “By doing this, we are sending a message to New Brunswickers that our government is serious about getting our fiscal house in order and paying down our net debt.”

The act has the following objectives:

  • Year-over-year deficit reductions of $125 million until a surplus is achieved.
  • After the deficit has been eliminated, a year-over-year reduction in net debt of $125 million until the net debt-to-GDP ratio is at or below 35 per cent within a five-year period. The net debt-to-GDP ratio for 2018-19 is estimated to be 38.6 per cent.
  • Quarterly fiscal updates after March 31, 2019, will reflect actual year-to-date revenues and expenses, along with the projected revenues and expenses for the fiscal year.

Also included in the act is a new requirement for ministers to place on deposit $2,500 each fiscal year. The funds would be reimbursed to the ministers only if there is a deficit reduction for the fiscal year in question.

The act would repeal and replace the Transparency in Election Commitments Act.

The new legislation aims to:

  • Increase transparency and accountability with respect to election commitments.
  • Ensure voters are aware of the likely fiscal impact of election commitments.
  • Encourage registered political parties to consider the expected fiscal impact of election commitments.

The act would also establish consequences for political parties if they do not comply.

“Repealing and replacing the Transparency in Election Commitments Act is an important step towards bringing back open, honest and accountable government,” said Steeves. “We believe it is important to be upfront about the challenges we face as a province, so that we can work together to find the answers.”

More information on the act is available online.